As the School Production should have taken place this term, we caught up with the Performing Arts Department to find out what is happening this term.
Mrs. Appleton, Head of Performing Arts, decided to introduce Disney’s ‘The Lion King Experience’ to the Key Stage 3 curriculum this year.
“Not knowing whether a school production would be possible, we decided to follow ‘The Lion King Experience’ scheme of work because as well as preparing students for a possible school production, it has such a brilliant online resource package,” she explains. “It also transfers wonderfully to a live classroom environment. The scheme of work explores all kinds of aspects of theatre that are a requirement for the Key Stage 3 curriculum and the focus on ‘The Lion King’ brings relevance and understanding to our pupils who mostly all know the story and music. The characters are loveable (not so much the wicked Uncle Scar but everyone loves a villain to an extent!) and the themes are relatable.”
‘The Lion King Experience’ has allowed our pupils to work in their ‘Pride’ groups while learning online during Lockdown. They have created ‘Pride’ identities, animal totems, ‘Pride’ rhythms, vocal warm-ups and physical warm-ups. Working with ‘The Lion King Junior’ script extracts and music, they have taken on the roles of actors, directors, choreographers, and musical directors.
“We were hoping to bring together some kind of performance by the end of the year whether it be a combination of scenes and music or a performance of some of the musical numbers,” Mrs. Appleton says. “Even without a performance, the skills developed by using the much-loved music and story will have been a valuable experience for our pupils.”
The return to school has been difficult for many after spending so much time learning online at home which compared to life at school is quite isolating. The focus for the department has been to encourage re-establishing social interactions through whole class warm-ups, call and repeat exercises and ‘Pride’ challenges.
“Working through ‘The Lion King Experience’ has allowed us to have fun interacting both as a whole class and in the smaller ‘Pride’ groups.” Mrs. Appleton reflects. “The weather for the last few weeks has been amazing and some lessons have taken place outside. And of course, the rhythms and warm-ups that the ‘Prides’ have created are much more fun to call and repeat when we are all together.”
While the juniors enjoy exploring the Savanna, the BTEC Level 2 and 3 students have been emersed in the world of Willy Russell. ‘Blood Brothers’ is another relatable piece that allows young performers to embrace the grit and reality of the famous story.
“Since the return to school, the extensive research conducted in the online lessons has been ably put into practice during face-to-face practical rehearsal exercises and script work,” Mrs. Appleton explains. “These rehearsal exercises, such as hot seating and off-script improvisations are valuable for a few reasons. Firstly, from a performance perspective, for aiding character understanding and skill development when making vocal and movement choices. They are also great exercises for helping our young people to build confidence back with their social interactions, communication, and teamwork skills while in face-to-face situations.”
The St David’s performers, musicians, and technical crews are hoping to be back in the theatre next year.